The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DJCOD) has welcomed the Public Protector’s report into systemic administration deficiencies relating to gender-based violence (GBV) within the justice system.

On Tuesday, Public Protector Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka released a report into gender-based violence and the responsiveness of the criminal justice system to the scourge.

This after a woman, Altecia Kortje and her child, were brutally murdered in 2020 by her former boyfriend after she had gone to the Belville Magistrate’s Court to apply for a domestic violence protection against him. She was allegedly turned away by court officials.

Following reports of the murder and the treatment Kortje received at the court, DJCOD Deputy Minister John Jeffery approached the Public Protector to investigate the matter.

Following the release of the report, Jeffery commended the work of that office.

“We want to commend the Public Protector for this very useful investigation, which focuses not only on the Department of Justice, but also on the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Social Development as key stakeholders in the justice system.

“The implementation of the proposed remedial action is vital. The justice system has to be responsive to the needs of those seeking assistance. These are matters which affect the daily lives of women in a very real way, therefore we must ensure that the system is made less cumbersome and more user-friendly,” he said.

Jeffery added that the report honours the memory of Kortje.

“On Saturday, it will be four years to the day that Altecia Kortje came to Bellville Magistrate’s Court for a protection order. This report honours her memory and the memories of so many other women who have lost their lives to gender-based violence.

“The Public Protector’s report will help the justice system to better protect women against GBV and to save lives,” Jeffery said.

Although the investigation did not find that Kortje was turned away from the court, Jeffrey emphasised that it did raise concern about the treatment of women when they approach the courts for help, particularly when it comes the GBV matters.

“The ability of the justice system to serve and support women who come to seek justice services or assistance from the courts is an absolute priority for us, and we must continuously seek ways in which it can be improved,” he said. –

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